A ceremony celebrating history brightened a rainy day at the Old Freighters Museum on Thursday, Oct. 25 as a healthy contingent of citizens watched the unveiling of a new historical marker recognizing the significance of the site.
The historic marker noted the Old Freighters Museum Building as the Russell, Majors and Waddell House. Text of the marker was read to the crowd by Susan Quinn of the Nebraska City Historical Society.
It reads as follows:
The U.S. Army built this house in 1858 as the residence of Quartermaster Major James Martin. The house was sold in 1859 to the Russell, Majors and Waddell Freighting Company. The company had a contract to haul supplies to military posts. Majors and his family lived temporarily on the second floor. With the company’s closure in 1865, the house was a private home until it became a museum in 1985.
Quinn told the crowd that, at one point, the house was up for sale and an option of razing the site was considered. At that point, the Nebraska City Historical Society acquired the property and began a long process of working through, room by room, to convert the building into the historical site seen there today.
Quinn said that work continues to improve the site as funds are available.
Prior to the historical marker ceremony, Nebraska City residents toured the Old Freighters Museum and enjoyed light refreshments. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Susan Quinn is the president of the Nebraska City Historical Society, which operates both Old Freighters Museum and the Nelson House. Other folks in attendance at the event included Sharon Hersemann, Dr. Laurence Falk, Kevin Boos and Lucille Sharp. They are all board members of Nebraska City Historical Society.